New ACT shows education achievement gaps rising, again.

The new Profile Report about Kentucky’s 2015 high School Graduates from the ACT, Inc. along with earlier reports from 2014 and 2013 provide data to create a series of graphs that explore the achievement gaps between Kentucky’s whites and blacks. These cover a period where the results have been consistently reported as an average of scores for students who took the ACT in the standard time allowed plus scores for students who got extra time but still could have scores reported to colleges.

Here is how this looks (Note: the first five graphs are for all students, public, private and home school combined. The last graph looks at public school only data).

In ACT English, the white minus black score gap was slightly reduced between 2013 and 2014, but the new results show all that improvement and more was lost and the gap is now the largest ever for the past three years. Also, white scores have increased more than those for blacks. By the way, that 2015 score for blacks of 15.5 is associated with a college readiness rate for English of only 32 percent.

Gap - Englsh

Click the “Read more” link to see the rest of the graphs.

For math, the situation is a little different. The gap was flat from 2013 to 2014, but it now has increased with the new report for 2015. A steady increase in white scores is no mirrored for blacks, who are falling further behind. Only 11 percent of Kentucky’s blacks are reported as ready for college math in the 2015 report.

Gap - Math

Reading is a repeat of the English situation. The gap reduction last year has been erased and the gap in 2015 is the largest since the ACT changed its way of reporting scores in 2013. It is particularly notable that black scores for reading actually declined between 2014 and 2015. Reading is a crucial subject no matter what area a student wishes to pursue in postsecondary studies. So, the 2015 black college readiness rate of just 15 percent that is associated with that 16.8 score is truly troubling.

Gap - Reading

Science again mirrors the English and reading trends. A gap reduction last year was fully erased and the 2015 gap is now notably larger than both the 2013 and 2014 figures. Also, black science scores in Kentucky declined from last year and are no better now than in 2013. Few Kentucky blacks are ready for any college science course as the ACT says just 11 percent were ready in this subject in 2015.

Gap - Science

The Composite trend is not much different, except the 2015 gap is the same as in 2013, but larger than in 2014. Blacks made no progress in 2015, as well. The ACT has not published readiness data for the Composite Scores.

Gap - Composite

Now all the results above are for all students from Kentucky’s public, private and home schools. However, the Kentucky Department of Education has now released its report with the scores for only Kentucky public school students. This next graph shows how that looks.

Gap - Composite - Public Only

As with the ACT Composite for all students, Kentucky’s public school blacks posted flat performance between 2014 and 2015.

Unfortunately, the Kentucky Department of Education’s News Release doesn’t provide scores for minorities for the other ACT subjects. Overall, however, the trend is consistent. As Kentucky gets more experience with Common Core in its classrooms, it looks like there are small benefits for whites but stagnation or decay for blacks. That isn’t what we want to see.